There was equally significant news on this very subject coming from the Middle East that was not widely reported in the United States, however. Two American allies, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, distanced themselves from the scheme. These two countries hold the key to an Israeli assault on Iran, as Israel is more likely to fly through their airspace to carry out the operation rather than go through Syrian or Turkish territories. The pair is predictably wary of Tehran's retaliation, which is bound to be profoundly destabilizing to the region.
A July 5th report by the Sunday Times suggested that Riyadh had, in fact, given Tel Aviv the green light to fly its bombers through Saudi airspace. But Saudi officials and analysts vehemently deny the reports, describing the potential strike as a "belligerent activity." The Iraqi government went even further warning that "any penetration of Iraqi airspace by an Israeli national would be considered an attack against Iraq," and a violation of its sovereignty. Hassan al-Sanid, a member of Iraq’s parliamentary committee on security and defense, claimed that under the Status Of ForcesAgreement (S.O.F.A), "Iraqi land, sea, and air shall not be used as a launching or transit point for attacks against other countries."
So, what is happening exactly? I have a five possible explanations. First, the American Vice President is being his usual self, not committing to the President's diplomatic discipline. Second, President Obama is keenly aware of the devastating repercussions across the region of an Israeli attack on Iran. Third, and perhaps most importantly, the so-called anti-Iran Arab-Israeli alliance is not as solid as some of its cheerleaders wish it to be. Not only does it lack any popular foundation, but Arab governments will not be caught collaborating with the Jewish State against the Islamic Republic. Iraq, though likely to be on good terms with Washington for a few years, is acutely sensitive to the needs and concerns of its more powerful neighbor. Saudi Arabia does not wish to experience the wrath of the Ayatollahs, should the attack come via Riyadh. Fourth, a good cop, bad cop scenario may be in place. Washington may well be emphasizing its relative benign attitude towards Iran through stressing Israel's sovereign will and the lack of an American green light. Fifth, and more likely, the regional actors, the US included, do not seem to have a clue what to do next regarding Iran, hence the conflicting statements. All options are bad; that of which they are certain.